The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has begun making pharmacy inspection reports available to the public.

The regulator announced the launch of a website, which will house the reports of all pharmacy inspections since April 2019, yesterday (17 September).

The site will show how well a pharmacy is performing against five principles and whether it has met all of the GPhC’s standards for registered pharmacies, including an ‘improvement action plan’ for any unmet standards.

A ‘knowledge hub’ for pharmacy teams provides examples of excellent, good and poor practice on the site, the GPhC said.

Links to published inspection reports will appear next to a pharmacy’s entry on the GPhC’s register, the regulator added.


Independents less likely to meet standards


A new report analysing 14,000 GPhC inspections since 2013 – also published on the new site – found that while over 85% of pharmacies met all of the regulator’s standards, pharmacies that are part of larger chains or located in hospitals or rural areas were more likely to be rated as ‘good’.

It added: ‘Community pharmacies, and particularly single independent pharmacies or ones that were part of a small chain, were more commonly in the smaller group of pharmacies that did not meet one or more standards and were rated as ‘poor’ or ‘satisfactory’ with an improvement action plan.’

However, all of the six pharmacies rated ‘excellent’ overall since April were community pharmacies and four of these were single independent pharmacies or part of a small chain with between two and five branches.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin told The Pharmacist that independents have ‘more scope to be excellent’ but equally may face a ‘slightly greater risk’ that challenges will arise.

He added that publishing inspection reports could help to ‘drive improvement where necessary’ by ‘equipping’ the public to question their local pharmacy on unmet standards.


Public recognition


Mr Rudkin added that while the publication of inspection reports ‘can be stressful’ for pharmacies, he hopes the process will be ‘as positive as it possibly can be’ in providing a PR boost for the sector.

He said: ‘As pharmacy is changing so quickly and [the sector] is seeking to explain and demonstrate to the public, policy makers and the NHS what it can offer, one of our aims is certainly to provide that underpinning of public assurance.

‘It is [important] for pharmacy owners – the vast majority of which are meeting the standards – to actually have that recognised publicly for the first time.’

The website will ‘celebrate and share’ best practice and enable pharmacies that are ‘grappling with the same or similar challenges’ to learn from each other, he added.